POP! RUNNING FORM - A Program by Samuel Stow
12th August - 9th September 2019
Becoming a Better Runner
One sunny Thursday morning in August I was doing a religious check of the Facebook groups I have joined (all four of them!), when I saw an interesting post by a gentleman called Sam Stow.
He was looking for beta testers for an online 'running form' program that he had developed. The beta program was named 'Reboot Your Running Form', but the final release is called 'Pop! Running Form'. I'll refer to it from here on in as Pop Running :)
Initially I wasn’t sure whether to apply. I was in the middle of a specific phase of training and had put running form further down my list of priorities. Sam’s responses, however, to the mandatory ‘challenges’ (a.k.a. loaded questions), that are prevalent during the Internet these days, told me that this was a genuine person offering something with passion.
With a mixture of trust and curiosity, I decided to apply.
Boy. Am I glad that I did.............
I will not be divulging all the specific details of the course out of respect for the work Sam has put into it, but will give an overview of what to expect coupled with my personal experience.
BASIC COURSE DETAILS
Duration - 30 days
Format - Video and e-mail
Focus - Development of efficient running form*
* This is my definition and I will endeavour to quantify this statement later.
As indicated above, the course is presented in easy-to-follow video format, with regular e-mail contact. The video instruction is very clear and is delivered in a way that is easy to assimilate. I like Sam's style of delivery and one thing he did excellently was avoid 'fluff'. Explanation, then Do. The information is more easily absorbed when initially watching and life is made easier when reviewing. No over-coaching here :)
The e-mails contained further information to back up the video content. Again, they were clear and concise.
I have a pretty good working knowledge of running, running mechanics, metrics and jargon. It can all be pretty overwhelming; Running efficiency, Running effectiveness, Running ____ (feel free to insert more jargon here). For me, it makes definitions and explanations a little harder to convey. I will do my best in the following text!
In the basic description above, I defined the focus of the course as 'development of efficient running form'.
What does that mean?
To me, it means using less energy to run further/faster and in a way that reduces the potential for injury. I write again:
1. Use less energy to run further and/or faster.
2. Reduce the potential for injury.
This is what I believe the course is trying to achieve.
How does it do that?
I need to choose my English carefully here. I believe it achieves it by using emulation of the best runners. Maybe model is a better verb to use. Emulation means to imitate or in its basic form, copy. I see (and felt during the course) much more than that. I felt a visual platform was being set that helped to develop a more efficient internal environment. Come again, Andy?! Improvement in running form tends to focus on what one sees. Structure. While undertaking this course I was becoming more aware of the internal processes to achieve the structure, namely specific muscle activation. For me that was priceless. By the second week of the course I felt less fatigued at the end of my runs and more in control of my movement.
Even though "universal principles" were being conveyed during the course, I felt there was an inherent personal expression of said principles being touted. Pretty clever stuff, if you ask me.
So, for me personally, the course achieved the following:
1. Less energy expenditure during easy runs. This was a perception as opposed to metric driven.
2. More control of structure when fatigued. No more 'slouching' into a fatigued posture. Maintenance of a purposeful running posture!
3. Better activation of glute muscles.
4. Stronger hip flexion.
5. More enjoyable runs.
Upon completion of the course, I can happily say that it was well worth the time and effort.
The two main areas it helped me to develop was a feeling (and appreciation) for glute activation and hip extension.
Other areas that were of huge benefit (to me), were the efficient dynamic warmups and a toolbox of drills for targeting the specific areas of development.
It is worth mentioning that I had already transitioned to forefoot strike before undertaking the course (self-taught to ensure better placement of centre of mass, NOT anti-heel strike!), but am confident that this course would have helped with a successful transition as well.
To answer the question, "Would you recommend this program?", my answer would be, "I've not seen the final program, but based on my experience during the beta testing I would 100% recommend Sam and what he has to offer as a coach and genuine human being".
Official Web Site
Note 1: None of the external links on this page or throughout this web site are affiliate links. I provide links to give access to further information about the training I undertake. I have absolutely nothing against affiliate links but I don't personally run any.
Note 2: Sometimes I will provide details about a training program but only details that have been put into the public domain by the program creators.
"Advanced is making Simple look easy....!"